Good evening peepers, prowlers, pederasts, panty-sniffers, punks and pimps, It’s a big one! Six hundred and forty pages of roiling conspiracy and double cross, as three lonely, and haunted men are driven to their emotional and spiritual exhaustion, in their quest for a femme fatale known as Red Joan.
This tale unfolds amid a broiling milieu of riots, right-wing conspiracy and the political aftermath of the Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations. This book is the third and final episode of Ellroy’s Underworld USA trilogy. The first book, American Tabloid covering the period 1958-63 was voted Time magazine novel of the year 1995. The second, The Cold Six Thousand was a poetic, ambitious and intensely plotted tale of bad men in the the sixties. Blood’s a Rover follows on from that book with more fluid and conventional prose.
But this is not a book for the faint of heart or the casual reader; if you take your eye off even one of the narrative plates that Ellroy spins with such effortless ability, you will be lost without redemption. For the initiated, the usual piñata targets are here: Howard ‘Dracula’ Hughes, Edgar ‘Nancy Boy’ Hoover, the head of the FBI and a particularly nasty ‘Tricky’ Dicky Nixon. In the immortal words of Ellroy, this book will have you: reamed, steamed and dry-cleaned; tied, dried and swept-aside, before you are finally: screwed, blued, tattooed and bah-fongooed.
Ellroy Is the Demon Dog of crime fiction , the Foul Owl with the death growl, the White Knight of the far right. He writes books for all the family he tells us, if that family happens to be the Manson Family. Which ever way you look at it, Ellroy writes compelling and idiosyncratic prose. He is number one in a genre that he created. His work goes beyond fiction, or pure history and mines a rich and disturbing seam of seediness within the world of American life that is so dangerous and subversive it might just be true. Read and enjoy baby.
The title comes from an A.E. Houseman verse “Clay lies still/But blood’s a rover”. Ask not for whom the bell tolls Jim…